Koreatown Dreaming: Stories & Portraits of Korean Immigrant Life

Running Pr. Oct. 2023. 264p. ISBN 9780762484584. $35. SOC SCI
Documentary photographer/film director Hahn offers a detailed portrait of Koreatowns in nine U.S. cities: Los Angeles; NYC’s Manhattan and Flushing, Queens; Atlanta; Honolulu; Dallas; Annandale, VA; and Fort Lee and Pal Park, NJ. Hahn uses his images as a vehicle to shed light on the broader experiences of the Korean diaspora in the United States. This book, in one or two-page entries, profiles dozens of Koreatown businesses—divided into the broad categories of retail, services, and restaurants—and the people who run them. Each entry includes a brief history, and many discuss how their businesses have been impacted by the COVID pandemic. Hahn’s work is enhanced with essays by Lisa Kwon, Katherine Yungmee Kim, and Cathy Park, and there is a touching epilogue by rapper Jon “Dumbfoundead” Park too. Readers will appreciate the beautiful and poignant photographs included throughout and the short chronicle of Koreans in the United States at the beginning of the book.
VERDICT Recommended for anyone interested in the experiences of Korean Americans. For a more detailed exploration of the topic, consider Koreatown, Los Angeles: Immigration, Race, and the “American Dream” by Shelley Sang-Hee Lee.
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